Monday, November 03, 2008

Islam: Muslims pin hopes on Vatican interfaith talks

Rome, 3 Nov. (AKI) - Muslim scholars due to meet Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials in Rome on Tuesday hope the landmark talks will help defuse continuing tensions between Islam and Christianity. Milanese imam Yahya Pallavicini is part of the delegation of Muslim scholars taking part in the first round of interfaith talks with the Vatican.

"In the Islamic world, there are high hopes that the talks will present a great opportunity for dialogue,"Pallavicini, vice-president of the Islamic Religious Community in Italy , told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Closed-door talks are taking place on Tuesday on 'Love of God and Love of One's Neighbour' and on 'Human Dignity and Mutual Respect' on Wednesday.

The Vatican is keen to discuss the question of religious freedom in Muslim countries, although this is not a precondition for dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Taurand, the Catholic Church's top interfaith official, told French daily La Croix.

On Thursday, the Pope will receive participants which will conclude with a public discussion at Rome's Gregorian University and the release of a concluding statement.
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